Kenyatta University shines at varsity performing arts battle

 Technical University of Kenya

1897-Prof Benedict Mutua VC at The Technical University of Kenya with TUK Drama Club Members Performing a historical play Lwanda Magere, during Nairobi Metropolitan Kenya University Performing Arts Association Drama and Film Festivals on Nov 1st 2023.

Photo credit: Anthony Njagi | Nation Media Group

Kenyatta University (KU) emerged as the best overall university during the annual Kenya Universities Performing Arts Association National Drama and Film Festival (KUPAA) which ended last weekend at Dedan Kimathi University.

The Kenyatta University team was under the stewardship of Prof John Mugubi and the patronage of Dr Eva Hongo. They won with the historical play Wangu wa Makeri.

They performed in all the competitive items that included winning the English play, winning the historical play, winning the one-man play, winning the legislative play, and winning the mash-up.

Kenyatta University

Kenyatta University students perform the winning play Wangu wa Makeri during the Kenya Performing Arts Association National Drama and Film Festival at Dedan Kimathi University of Science and Technology on  November 10, 2023.

Photo credit: Pool

They also won top awards in solo and choral Verses, narrative, creative cultural dance, mime, stand-up comedy, spoken word, modern dance, puppetry and, film. The items were directed by Derrick Waswa.

KU drama team brought fresh insight into the life of Wangu wa Makeri, the first woman chief in colonial Kenya. The play was produced by Prof PK Wainaina and adopted into the script and directed by Derrick Waswa.

This year’s festival cut across many thematic areas that not only reflect our cultural settings and situations but also packaged knowledge and focused on embracing creative economies, as guided by this year’s theme “Supporting Economic Transformation through Performing Arts”.

The festival attracted 45 universities performing over 308 items in 21 genres; excluding two special categories – beauty pageantry and visual arts – which were introduced last year.

Derick Waswa

Kenyatta University's Derick Waswa receives the Best Director trophy from KFC CEO Timothy Owase during the gala awards ceremony of the Kenya University Performing Arts Association National Drama and Film Festival at Dedan Kimathi University on November 10, 2023.

Photo credit: Pool

The festival also introduced a live drawing competition in the visual arts category. This is significant as it opens up space for diversity and increased participation by students in creative ventures.

The University of Embu thrilled the audience with a poem called “Lium”. The persona has secured a position at the University to pursue his academic goals. The challenge is the cost of higher education with the new funding model.

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology presented a narrative about the life history of Nanjakhululu who was born, grew up and schooled in Shinilu village, but later turned to alcoholism which had negative effects on him and the entire society. This led to a decision by the villagers to get him a wife, which they hoped would change their son's fortune.